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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 40 ..

Mr Hird: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: I think our friends opposite have got the whole thing wrong. Indeed, I am delighted to say that my female assistant has now been promoted to Mr De Domenico's office. So I do not know about getting rid of females; I think he is adding to them.

MRS CARNELL: Can I answer the question, if it is humanly possible, to say that I have made no directions whatsoever with regard to Mr De Domenico's staff.

Nature Parks - Entrance Fees

MR KAINE: My question, Mr Speaker, is to the Minister for the Environment, Mr Humphries. I am getting a bit confused about the question of charging entrance fees to nature parks. As chairman of a committee, I recently tabled a report that, amongst other things, proposed that the Government should consider the charging of entrance fees to our national parks and other park areas in the ACT. It seems to me lately that whenever Mr Berry wants to crank up his leadership campaign he puts out a media release about entry fees to nature parks. I am a little confused. Rather than having to take note of Mr Berry's press releases, could you please explain just what the true position is with respect to that proposal to charge entrance fees to the nature parks?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, although I have ease in describing the Government's position on this matter, I would have enormous difficulty in working out what the Labor Opposition is saying about the subject. Frankly, they have been all over the place.

Mr De Domenico: They need Mr Connolly back, I think.

MR HUMPHRIES: They probably do. I am beginning to regret my decision. It seems to me that Mr Berry does want to crank up his leadership agenda every so often and when he does he fires out all sorts of releases on all sorts of subjects, hoping that one will hit the mark sooner or later by a sheer process of attrition. In fact, Mr Berry at the same time does not always remain completely free of hypocrisy. The latest media release from the Labor Opposition says that this plan - that is, the plan about park fees - is about as ridiculous as they come. He says that Labor has always opposed passing costs on to those least able to afford to pay. One's heart bleeds profusely at these words. Unfortunately, when you check back to the budget papers for 1993-94, Ms Follett actually announced as Chief Minister and Treasurer that entry fees for nature parks were being examined. At page 136 of the Budget Overview 1993-94 it is stated:

The marketing strategy -

that is, for national parks -

... includes the examination of entry charges at certain reserves. This charging is consistent with other national parks and reserves across Australia ...

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